Baruch Goldstein

Baruch Goldstein

Infobox Person
subject_name = Baruch Goldstein

image_size = 150px
image_caption =
birth_date = December 9, 1956
birth_place = Brooklyn, New York, United States
death_date = February 25, 1994 (aged 37)
death_place = Hebron, West Bank
death_cause = Beaten to death
occupation = Physician
spouse = Miriam Goldstein
parents =
children =

Baruch Kappel Goldstein ( _he. ברוך גולדשטיין; December 9, 1956 – February 25, 1994) was an American born Israeli physician who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Muslims at prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque (within the Cave of the Patriarchs) and wounding another 150 in a shooting attack.


Goldstein was born in Brooklyn, New York to an Orthodox Jewish family. He attended the Yeshivah of Flatbush religious day school and Yeshiva University. [Precker, Michael. [ "Brooklyn's image as extremist hotbed disputed by some Borough defenders say ties to Israel cherished, but radical groups aren't"] , "The Dallas Morning News", March 20, 1994. Accessed August 6, 2007. "'This is not what we are teaching,' said Rabbi David Eliach, principal at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, where Dr. Goldstein attended high school."] He received his medical training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He belonged to the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a militant Jewish organization founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane. [ [ BBC NEWS] "Goldstein had been a member of the Jewish Defense League."]

After emigrating to Israel , he served as a physician in the Israeli Defense Force, first as a conscript, then in the reserve forces. Following the end of his active duty, Goldstein worked as a physician and lived in the Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron, where he served as an emergency doctor. [ [ BBC NEWS] "Goldstein had lived in Israel for 11 years and was a doctor in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, just outside Hebron." "As the settlement's main emergency doctor he was involved in treating victims of Arab-Israeli violence."]

In the autumn of 1993, in recognition of his medical work, Goldstein received two citations from the Israeli Army.Certificate of Esteem from the Medical Department of the district of Judea and Samaria, dated 22 September 1993; Certificate of Esteem and Thanks from the Commander of the Medical Command, dated Tishri 5754 (September 1993) ] In January 1994, Major Dr Yitzchak Ashkenazi, the local medical Officer of the district of Judea and Samaria recommended Goldstein for promotion to the rank of Major in the Israeli Army".Recommendation for promotion on [Israel] Independence Day, signed by Major Dr. Yitzchak Ashkenazi, Local Medical Officer of the district of Judea and Samaria, dated 18 January 1994.]

Cave of the Patriarchs massacre

main|Cave of the Patriarchs massacreOn February 25, 1994, that year's Purim day, Goldstein entered a room in the Cave of the Patriarchs serving as a mosque, wearing "his army uniform with the insignia of rank, creating the image of a reserve officer on active duty" (Shamgar report). He then opened fire, killing 29 Arab Muslims and wounding 150. Mosque guard Mohammad Suleiman Abu Saleh said he thought that Goldstein was trying to kill as many people as possible and described how there were "bodies and blood everywhere." After being subdued with a fire extinguisher and disarmed, Goldstein was beaten to death.Shamgar Commission: Report pp. 15, 47-48.] According to Ian Lustick, 'by mowing down Arabs he believed wanted to kill Jews, Goldstein was reenacting part of the Purim story. [Ian Lustick, "For The Land and The Lord",Council on Foreign Relations (1988) 2nd.ed.1994, Preface ]

The death certificate issued by the Israeli Ministry of the Interior lists the cause of his death as "murder."Official Death Certificate dated 9 March, 1994, issued by Ministry of Interior of the State of Israel.] Although the Israeli authorities knew (via an Arab source who was present that morning) the names of those who killed Goldstein, they were never brought to trial although his wife requested that they be charged with homicide. [Tel Aviv District Court Archives file I.S. 1160/94, Para. 4, 5 (February 11, 1998).]

Palestinian rioting immediately followed the shooting, leading in the following week to the deaths of 25 Palestinians and five Israelis.Middle East Journal, "Chronology", vol 48, no 3 (Summer 1994) p. 511 ff.] Following the massacre, Israel imposed a two-week curfew on the 120,000 Palestinian residents of the city, while the 400 Jewish settlers remained free to move around. [ [ Fabled town, divided and bruised] , 'The Hindu", May 21, 2006.] The Israeli government condemned the massacre.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin telephoned Mr Arafat, describing the attack as a "loathsome, criminal act of murder". [ [] . ]

Treatment of non-Jews

Contradictory evidence exists as to whether he refused to treat non-Jews in his service as a civilian physician or while serving in the Israeli Army. Israeli press-reports state that he refused to treat non-Jews, even those serving in the IDF. When Goldstein was threatened with court-martial he declared: "I am not willing to treat any non-Jew. I recognize as legitimate only two religious authorities: Maimonides and Kahane."Arych Kizel in "Yediot Aharonot," 1 March 1994.]

The Shamgar Commission, which later investigated Goldstein's role in the Cave of the Patriachs massacre, noted that Goldstein had treated an Arab militant in October 1990. Also, Moshe Givati, the former Brigade Commander in Hebron,"Shamgar Commission Minutes pp.1615-16 ] Colonel Dr. Arie Eldad, Medical Officer of the Central Command,"Shamgar Commission Minutes pp.78 ] Major Nachman Ash, Medical Officer of the Judea and Samaria Division,"Shamgar Commission Minutes pp.420 ] and Moti Unger, the Night Security Officer of the Kiryat Arba Local Council"Shamgar Commission Minutes pp.730 ] all testified that Goldstein had treated Jew and Arab alike. Evidence was also given by Superintendent Uri Weisskop, who was acting Commander of the Hebron Police Station, that he had not come across any case of Goldstein refusing to give medical aid to a wounded Arab."Shamgar Commission Minutes pp.336 ]

Gravesite and shrine

Goldstein is buried at the Meir Kahane Memorial Park in Kiryat Arba, a Jewish city next to Hebron. The park is named in memory of Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Israeli far-right political party Kach, a group classified by the United States and Israeli governments as a terrorist organization. Goldstein was a long-time devotee of Kahane. [ [,9171,980282,00.html The Making of a Murderous Fanatic] , 'Time", March 7, 1994.]

The gravesite has become a pilgrimage site for those with extreme right-wing political views; a plaque near the grave reads "To the holy Baruch Goldstein, who gave his life for the Jewish people, the Torah and the nation of Israel." ["Graveside party celebrates Hebron massacre." BBC News, 21 March, 2000 [] ] In 1996, members of the Labor Party called for the shrine-like landscaped prayer area near the grave to be removed, and Israeli security officials expressed concern that the grave would encourage extremists. ["Goldstein's grave draws extremists." Jewish Telegraphic Agency, November 22, 1996. [] ] In 1999, following passage of a law designed to prohibit monuments to terrorists, and an associated Supreme Court ruling, the Israeli Army bulldozed the shrine and prayer area set up near Goldstein's grave. ["Israel removes shrine to mosque murderer." CNN, 29 December, 1999. [] ]


ee also

*Mosque of Abraham massacre
*Jewish fundamentalism
*Israeli-Palestinian conflict
*List of terrorist incidents
*Jewish Defense League

External links

* [ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- Excerpts from the report of the Commission of Inquiry Into the Massacre at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron (aka the "Shamgar Report")]
* [ UN document containing extracts of the Israeli inquiry report]
* [ An Israeli opinion piece on the 1994 massacre]

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